Outback trip a profound experience
|Student Amanda Steckler from Wilkes University, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, with students from St Philomena’s School Moree.|
Seven students from the US joined 10 students from Campion College for an intensive history program, which culminated in a visit to Aboriginal communities in outback NSW in July this year.
The three-week winter program focused on Australian and Aboriginal history and ended with a tour of schools and community service in Moree, Walgett and Lightning Ridge. The program was organised with the assistance of Sharon Cook, Indigenous Commissioner for the Catholic Education Commission of NSW.
The group assisted teachers at St Philomena’s School in Moree and participated in an extraordinary ceremony at St Joseph’s School in Walgett. Students also built a garden for the St Pius X Corporation in Moree, which maintains a church, a pre-school and a health centre that are open to all in the community.
The week was completed at the site of the Myall Creek massacre where up to 30 unarmed Aborigines were killed by European settlers on 10 June 1838. This was a sombre and reflective moment for the Campion group as they walked in silence.
Dr Susanna Rizzo, who led the tour, said the week was a profound experience for all who participated with meetings with important elders of the Kamiliroi people.
“All came away with a much greater understanding of dispossession, the relevance of dreamtime stories and the continuing struggle of Aboriginal communities,” she said. “There was also time to reflect on the connection between the Catholic faith and the Aboriginal spiritual experience.”
The group was also joined by distinguished US academic, Dr Alison Fletcher of Juniata College in Pennsylvania, US.
A highlight of the tour was the gift of a cross, hand painted with Aboriginal motifs by distinguished Aboriginal elder Auntie Faye Green OAM.Campion College will run the next program for US and Australian students in July 2011 when the focus will be American/Australian history. The course is open to anyone who would like to take an intensive three-week course in US/Australian history. Further details will be available at: www.campion.edu.au
« Return to Catholic Outlook September 2010